Two-time Tour de France runner-up Nairo Quintana was disqualified from the 2022 edition on Wednesday for misuse of an opioid banned during races.
Quintana will lose the sixth-place finish he achieved last month but is not banned from other races, the International Cycling Union said when announcing the decision. The UCI said it was not a doping violation.
Quintana is due to start Friday in the three-week Spanish Vuelta, which he won in 2016.
Traces of the synthetic painkiller tramadol were found in two dried blood spot samples taken from the Colombian rider during the Tour on July 8 and 13, the UCI said.
Quintana’s case is among the first in world sports to rely on the dried blood spot (DBS) method of collecting samples which the World Anti-Doping Agency approved last year.
Tramadol was banned in 2019 from use during cycling competitions because of the potential side effects.
“In addition to the risk of dependence and addiction, commonly reported adverse side effects of tramadol are dizziness, drowsiness and loss of attention, which are incompatible with competitive cycling and endanger other competitors,” the UCI medical rules state.
The 32-year-old Quintana finished the three-week Tour de France more than 16 minutes behind winner Jonas Vingegaard.
“As this is a first offence, (Quintana) is not declared ineligible and can therefore participate in competitions,” the UCI said.
Quintana finished second in 2013 and 2015, behind Chris Froome both times, and also won the 2014 Giro d’Italia.
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